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Hurricane season officially started on June 1st. We’ve already seen a brief sales-tax holiday on flashlights, candles, lanterns, batteries, and other storm essentials, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is using the examples of Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew, and Irma to remind Floridians of the importance of getting ready now. This year there’s some extra urgency, given the fact that the National Hurricane Center is predicting a 35% chance of an above-normal season.

The message is clear: take action now. Don’t wait for the storm to be on the horizon before you fortify your home against wind and flood damage and examine your insurance needs. Here are some tips to get you started.

Secure Your Windows

Entry points such as doors and windows are vulnerable when gale-force winds attack your property. All it takes is a single broken window to expose the rest of your home to rain and wind-driven debris. Have impact-resistant windows or storm shutters installed; or, at the very least, board the windows up with plywood to lessen the likelihood of breakage. If you have a garage, consider installing a door approved for impact protection and wind pressure.

Protect Against Flooding

Hurricanes are often accompanied by torrential rainfall that leads to flood damage. To prevent or at least minimize water ingress, purchase enough sandbags to create a pile of at least two feet around the entrances to your home. If you have to leave the property, unplug all electrical appliances to prevent an electrical surge or worse if water does get in.

Remove or Secure Loose Objects

You’d be surprised what can be transformed into a projectile when hurricane winds hit. To avoid damage to your property or that of your neighbors, secure or bring inside anything that could be hurled by a strong wind. This includes lawn and patio furniture, bicycles, children’s toys, and potted plants. It’s also a good idea to trim your trees to prevent loose branches from breaking off.

Take a Home Inventory

Take pictures of your home’s contents and record the serial numbers for especially valuable items. If your home and possessions are damaged, you’ll need these details to help file a claim with your insurance company.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Check your insurance coverage. Although most good homeowner’s insurance policies cover windstorm damage, damage or losses from flooding require separate coverage. Review your policies for any exclusions you may have forgotten and contact your agent to make any changes well before the storm hits: last year Florida insurance claims for damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma exceeded $8.6 billion, so don’t leave yourself unprotected.

Don’t take chances with something as important as your family home and cherished possessions. If you are worried that you lack sufficient coverage this storm season, contact Rick Leal at We Insure for a policy review. Rick will put together a package that protects your assets from hurricane winds and flood damage, allowing you to focus on keeping your loved ones safe.